If you're planning on traveling to Europe, beware of these top 5 scams! From pickpocketing to fake taxis, ATMs, and bracelets, travelers need to be aware of these common scams in order to avoid them.
Keep your valuables close and your wits about you to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Pickpocketing is a type of theft that occurs when someone uses stealth and dexterousness to take valuables from another person without them realizing it. This crime is often associated with crowded areas like subways, festivals, and tourist attractions, as these provide opportunities for pickpockets to blend in and escape easily.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from pickpockets. Firstly, keep your valuables close to your body and in difficult-to-reach places.
For example, don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket or hang your purse off the back of your chair. Secondly, be aware of your surroundings and who is around you at all times. And finally, trust your gut – if something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is.
2. ATM skimming
ATM skimming is a type of fraud that occurs when criminals attach devices to ATMs in order to steal card information and PIN numbers from unsuspecting users.
These devices can be difficult to spot, but there are a few things you can look for: loose fitting or damaged card readers, unusual wiring near the keypad, and anything that looks out of place on the machine itself.
If you suspect that an ATM has been tampered with, do not use it and report it to the bank immediately. Additionally, always cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN number to prevent hidden cameras from recording it.
3. The fake taxi
The fake taxi scam is one that unfortunately continues to dupe tourists in Europe – especially those who are visiting for the first time. This scam generally works like this: someone will approach you (usually at an airport) and offer to take you into town for a significantly lower rate than what a legitimate taxi would charge.
They may even show you what appears to be an official ID badge or have some other form of “proof” that they are legitimate. But once you get into their car, they will drive off route and charge you an exorbitant amount of money for the journey – sometimes even threatening violence if you don’t pay up.
To avoid this scam, only ever take taxis that are booked through your hotel or an official taxi stand. If someone approaches you offering a ride, politely decline and walk away quickly.
4. The broken ATM
This scam usually takes place late at night outside of a bank ATM machine. A criminal will wait for someone to approach the machine and then start fiddling with it as if they’re having difficulty using their card or getting cash out.
They may even ask if you know how to use the machine or if you could help them withdraw money. While distracted by this conversation (and with their attention away from their own belongings), another member of the gang will pickpocket them."
If someone tries to engage you in conversation while you’re using an ATM machine, ignore them completely and walk away immediately – even if they claim they just need help withdrawing cash."
5. The fake bracelet
Bad actors braid a tourist's wrist or finger into a bracelet and demand money and threaten them if they are not going to pay them.
Europe is a beautiful continent with so much to see and do. However, there are also a lot of scams that target tourists. It's important to be aware of these scams so you can avoid them.
These are just a few of the many scams that exist in Europe. Be sure to do your research before traveling so you can avoid becoming a victim yourself.